As we didn’t find so much info about the walks in the East and West McDonnell ranges, we headed to the information center first. The guy was very helpful and we got a lot of brochures, but still they didn’t reveal all the walks and their distances. Anyway, we decided to head to the West McDonnell ranges first. But first we were going to stay one night in Alice. We found a cheap campsite at the back yard of a hotel (it was very packed and looked a bit like a refugee camp, but had laundry, tables, electricity and water). Good enough for a night.
The winter nights here in the center of Australia are surprisingly cold. The temperature starts to drop as soon as the sun goes down and can go down to minus degrees… So when it gets dark, we put all our winter stuff on, which is thermal underwear, big socks, jackets, etc. We sleep with them and around 9h30 after brekkie, they can go off for short and a t-shirt, because it’s pretty nice in the day . An interesting experience!
The next morning we did a very nice, informative and free town walk with the information center tour guide. We got to know Alice Springs a bit better and the history of the area here. We wanted to go to the McDonnell ranges as soon as possible but first had to visit the beanie festival that they had going on here at that time. We got stopped by an aboriginal woman asking for ambulance, because she can’t walk. She didn’t look like she is in a desperate need for one, but you never know so we organised an ambulance for her (Edda did her duty as a good citizen!). While we were waiting, she asked for a lighter for her cigarette… When the ambulance came, they greeted her as a regular and we could go. That episode stole some time away from us, but as the information center guy said: many aboriginals come to towns just to get medical help and drink, so you don’t get the best impression about the indigenous culture if you only visit towns.
Finally we made it to the beanie festival which was great. I was thinking, we should definitely do something like this in Finland! So many weird and also normal beanies (or hats), so many visitors, so many people buying them etc. How can this be so successful in Australia where you don’t even need a hat..? See the pics, and get to work, Magaly .